China´s rich are leaving the motherland in a higher speed than ever, and pollution is one of the major driver behind this spike in emigration, notes China´s rich list founder Rupert Hoogewerf, in China better known as Hurun, in Time.
A recent survey provides the strongest evidence yet that China’s polluted cities risk driving away the rich. Released in January by the Hurun Research Institute, the survey shows 64% of China’s rich (those with wealth above $1.6 million) were either immigrating to another country or planning to, a rise from 60% in the last poll two years ago. That came as a surprise to Rupert Hoogewerf, founder of the Hurun Report, an annual China rich list. He wasn’t expecting the already high figure to grow. He says pollution and food safety was the second-biggest reason for emigrating, after the general desire for security and financial well-being. Although the numbers of those emigrating haven’t yet reached a critical mass, Hoogewerf says “a lot of families are finding a lot of other rich families are going overseas,” providing examples to follow.
What’s happening is that those who can avoid the smog, especially families with children, are escaping what a recent Chinese study reportedly called “unlivable” cities like Beijing. They’re seeking permanent residency in America and Canada, and European countries Cyprus, Portugal, and the U.K.
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